A cheap Christmas on a strict budget seems wrong somehow, doesn’t it?
Christmas is ALL about giving generously and crazy spending on Christmas gifts and food.
And a frugal Christmas on a budget sounds dull beyond words and a total non-starter with kids!!!
But do you know what?
The truth is, a cheap Christmas can actually be a really lovely family Christmas that is more truly joyful.
So if you’re on a tight budget this year explore this guide to a frugal but fabulously fun Christmas.
It’s chock full of simple, practical ideas for every aspect of Christmas so do bookmark or save it. And use the index to find specific tips you need.
How To Enjoy A Family Christmas On A Low Budget
The big secret to a frugal but fun Christmas is NOT all about hunting down the very cheapest prices.
It is all about doing stuff different. And doing lots of stuff for free.
In this budget Christmas guide I’ll explain first how I actually earn money to pay for Christmas.
And then share loads of ways to:
- Make decorations for free
- Give cheaper but still lovely gifts
- Wrap presents for free
- Enjoy yummy food on a budget
- Avoid unnecessary costs
- Cut postage & travel costs
- Value what we have
- Enjoy free Christmas entertainment
They truly can help us connect more deeply with the real joy of Christmas.
Paying For Christmas
Every year I pay for a good part of Christmas by decluttering.
I sell on the great things we’ve grown out of and the barely used stuff someone else will enjoy more.
We just sold our dolls house. I am sad its going but love that new kids will enjoy it. The cash went straight into our Christmas budget.
What To Declutter
So sell anything you can on eBay or Facebook right through into December including …
- Never used gadgets still in boxes.
- Expensive outgrown toys e.g. bikes, dolls houses, trains, ride ons, roller skates, lego, toy kitchens.
- Barely worn party clothes.
- Bundles of books, jigsaws & games.
- Excess Christmas decorations.
- Christmas baking equipment.
- Wine glasses, cutlery & crockery.
- Spare bed linen.
- Table clothes & tea towels …
Or anything someone else could gift or make use of over Christmas.
You will make money AND space!!
For more help read my declutter tips.
Now we’ve got extra money in our purse let’s look at smart ways to make that money go further.
Free Christmas Decorations
There are loads of lovely ways to make Christmas decorations for free.
And they’re a double whammy for our Christmas budget as they’re also FREE Christmas activities for kids.
So check out these simple ideas …
Enjoy a winter walk and gather supplies to make lovely natural Christmas decorations for free …
Free Table Decor Ideas
You truly can create beautiful Christmas table decorations from cuttings, bottles & cans, battered baubles, plant pots and old candles!
For quick, easy ideas explore these :
Free Christmas Wreaths
Gorgeous Christmas wreaths can be made for free with a few cuttings. You can even make your own frame.
For loads of ideas explore these :
A Free Christmas Tree
Christmas trees cost a fortune. But an on trend “not a tree” Christmas tree can be created for free.
For inspiration check out these :
You can also upcycle Christmas decorations from unused supplies you already have in the house.
Including button ornaments like these cute trees …
And simple wreaths kids can make :
Cheaper Lovelier Gifts
Cheap Christmas gifts don’t have to be bargain basement finds or crazily complicated crafted creations.
And I have here lot of lovely ways to create cheap & free DIY gifts easily …
Upcycle Simple Gifts
We can upcycle simple handmade gifts from stuff we have in our home.
Use this guide to super simple handmade gifts to make a :
- No Sew Teepee Tent
- Pillow Case Sundress
- Super Hero Capes
- Upcycled Tie Pockets
- No Sew Cushion Covers
- And more …
Alternatively you could do something as simple as sort through boxes of old photos and make mini photo albums for stocking fillers.
Mason Jar Gifts
Or collect up old jars for mason jar gifts. This big guide to simple mason jar gifts has clever ideas you can make cheaply from a jewellery making kit to super cute reindeer jars or a gardeners grow kit.
Buying second hand presents is a brilliant way to have to have a cheap – and zero waste – Christmas.
Good quality 2nd hand toys are an investment as you’ll be able to sell them on for what you paid. Look out for 2nd hand big ticket items like :
- Bikes, trikes, skates & scooters
- Trampolines, slides & swings
- Walkers & bouncers
- Dolls houses, toy kitchens & forts
- Wooden toys, especially trains
- Great lego sets
- Swing ball
- Sports equipment
Facebook is a good place to find local pre-loved toys. You can even share wish lists in case neighbours have what you’re hunting.
Organise A Puzzle Swap
Puzzle swaps are another money saving zero waste Christmas idea. Exchange done jigsaws or games you’ve played loads with family & friends rather than buying new.
DIY Garden Gifts
You can create all sorts of cheap DIY garden gifts from your garden and for keen gardeners even if you don’t have a garden including …
Pass On Family Heirlooms
Christmas is all about family connections so it’s a wonderful time to pass on a heirloom whether it’s a :
- Much loved teddy or soft toy
- Pile of books
- Watch or jewellery
- Real camera
- Music collection or instruments
- Vintage clothes, bags or shoes
- Or a piece of furniture they love
They may not be worth loads but shared with the family stories that go with them, they become priceless.
Copy Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton may not be on a tight Christmas budget but still gives the King super frugal jars of homemade preserves as a gift.
So copy Kate and make your own simple preserves as gifts.
Don’t worry if you’ve never preserved before, use this guide to homemade preserves for Christmas gifts to make …
- Crab apple jelly with FREE fruit
- Frozen berry freezer jam
- Preserved lemons
- Christmas pickled onions
- Easy Christmas chutney.
Experience gifts can be pricey but asking family to buy kids vouchers saves money on trips next year. And you can create cheap DIY versions.
Use this big guide to the best experience gifts for loads of ideas.
Ask For What You Need
Using Christmas wish lists to get family help with warm winter clothes kids need also saves us money.
Giving gifts to loved ones is central to Christmas. So it is incredibly hard when we can’t afford anything.
Agreeing no gifts deals with other adults in our families helps.
And when money is beyond tight we should never forget we are the most precious gift we can give.
There are all sorts of ways we can give our time and skill including :
- Teaching an instrument
- Teaching a craft
- Hair styling
- Dog walking
- Baby sitting
- Prepping meals
- Drawing a portrait
- And just being there, as ourselves with love and listening …
So now we have lots of lovely cheap Christmas gifts, it’s time to wrap them. And we can do that for free too.
Free Christmas Gift Wrap
Free Christmas gift wrap is still very much on trend as part of the simple Scandinavian Christmas look.
Newspaper Gift Wrap
Newspaper and twine gift wrap genuinely can look gorgeous. Especially with tiny cuttings …
Brown Paper Gift Wrap
And you can transform brown packaging by simply adding :
- Garden cuttings
- Scrap fabric ribbons
- Old yarn
- DIY stencils
- Or even post-it notes!!!
There’s loads of stylish & fun brown paper ideas for you here …
DIY Gift Boxes
It is surprisingly easy to make gift boxes from scrap paper and card …
Upcycled Gift Wrap Ideas
And there are all sorts of ways you can upcycle gift wrap, bags and boxes from scrap fabric, ice cream tubs, cereal boxes and more.
I love this idea for using fallen apart old books to wrap a new book …
Upcycled Gift Tags
DIY gift tags are a cool way to brighten free gift wrap. You can make them super cute or super stylish using any old craft supplies you have with these easy ideas …
Cheap But Delicious Christmas Food
Lots of our Christmas money goes of course on food but there are delicious ways to eat cheaply.
This big guide to Christmas food ideas on a budget takes you through:
- Food To Make Ahead & Freeze
- Yummy Leftovers Recipes
- Filling Food To Go Further
- Homemade Cakes & Desserts
- How To Freeze What’s Left
Borrow Before You Buy
In the run up to Christmas, it’s all too easy to throw money at stuff we won’t use more than once.
Even with money super tight, the marketing machine gets to us with it’s more, more, more message.
So before buying anything new talk to friends and borrow instead :
- Christmas cookie cutters
- Baking sheets
- Roasting tins
- Extra chairs
- Wine glasses
- Table linen
- Bed linen for guests etc
If you truly are short on equipment or supplies and can’t borrow get on freecycle and pick up for free.
You can also find FREE craft supplies.
Cut Travel & Postage Costs
Travel and postage costs can seriously add up at Christmas.
So use these frugal tips to cut costs :
- Don’t send cards
- Share a fun family video
- Schedule big meet ups with family far away for January & February when flights will be cheaper
- Buy delivery FREE virtual gifts. This guide to the best digital gifts has cool ideas for all budgets.
We all have a deep need to give thanks at Christmas. We still have that need when we’re struggling.
Giving to others expresses our gratitude and there are still ways we can give when times are tight …
- Serve at a homeless shelter
- Help out at a food bank
- Sing songs at an old people’s home
- Sweep snow for elderly neighbours
- Deliver cards for the immobile
- Pick up parcels for a new mum
- Spend time with someone alone
Create Your Own Cheap Christmas Entertainment
We all get caught up in the whirl of Christmas shows and parties but the costs add up, painfully.
Local amateur shows are super fun for kids at a fraction of the price.
And we too easily forget all the simple free ways we can make our own entertainment :
- Carol singing on the street
- Christmas karaoke with neighbours
- Classic Christmas movie swap with neighbours
- Church carol services
- Winter solstice bonfire & yule log
- Christmas ghost story telling snuggled up with hot chocolate & Christmas cookies. Christmas Carol still takes some beating.
- Snowball fights
- A sledging party
Or on a clear night go for a night hike under the stars and remember the simple power of the Christmas story : the birth of a child in the most humble surroundings who called on us all to light the world by loving our neighbours as ourselves.
And there you go, a huge guide to having a lovely cheap Christmas on a budget.
For more simple Christmas ideas explore these :
- 30 Classic Christmas Cookies
- 55 Rustic Christmas Decorations
- 26 Homemade Christmas Ornaments
- 16 Homemade Christmas Candies
- 30 Simple Christmas Wreaths
- 101 DIY Christmas Gifts
And for even more ideas follow me on Pinterest …Photo: Forest scenery, A straight row of four simple paper wrapped Christmas presents with colorful bows, Gingerbread man on new year bokeh background, New year background on red with decorative toys and present box and sledge by Marco Verch under Creative Commons 2.0 Other images by : rawpixel.com
We all are well-versed with the origin of the Christmas festival. The crux of Christmas festival is celebrating the birth of Lord Jesus Christ, and in Anglo-Saxon geol, it is referred to as the feast of the winter solstice.Not only for Christians but for other religions also Christmas is one of the most colossal festivals. On the fine eve of Christmas, people exchange gifts, hug and kiss each other, pray, and send merry Christmas wishes to all of their loved ones
Several years ago, my family decided, rather than give purchased gifts, to use what we would have spent as a donation to a local charity. So there would not be a time to open ‘gifts’, I suggested we give a ‘ What I would have given you’gift. This was so much more fun. There was not price limit with this system. We gave my brother a ticket for a trip to the Space Shuttle (before that was even a ‘thing’): the color blue to my sister who really loves the color blue; and a picture of an Hawaiian lei for my sister as part of a trip to Hawaii where she could get lei–d. We laughed as much in the planning as in the opening.
What a fantastic idea – totally love this. Will have to give it a try!